This week’s rehearsal was probably the best yet.

Firstly, the group of students we have is WONDERFUL! We had two newcomers join us–Crystal and Charles–as well as the return of Christina, Rufus, and Jacob #2. The new folks were spectacular; they were attentive, engaged, and demonstrated a positive attitude throughout the rehearsal. I’d like to give a shoutout to one student in particular, though: Christina. Last rehearsal was the first time we met her, and she quickly revealed to us her familiarity with theatrical performance. Her energy had also stunned us. This week was even more stunning; Christina arrived to rehearsal with script in hand and a big smile. She cheerfully told us how she’d done “a little research” on Twelfth Night (we’d expected “a little” to mean reading a summary on Sparknotes). Nope. She read through the entire play, took notes, and learned all the characters and the plot. She honestly knows more than us about what’s going on at this point. It was awesome.

Since Charles is also a member of the Thursday rehearsal group, we only had to give a brief introduction to Crystal. Then we commenced with a thorough read-through of the script. We assigned tentative parts, but nothing is set in stone as of now. Before each scene, we would basically explain in simple terms what was about to occur. We then let the students read at their own pace.

Christina, while certainly the most energetic, also struggles the most with reading the script. As a result, there was some mild teasing by the other students, which we tried to deflect and rework into encouragement. However, I could tell that by the end of rehearsal, Christina was becoming doubtful about her ability to play the Clown, due to the large speaking role associated with the Clown.

We’ve considered some support strategies for Christina for the next few rehearsals. Firstly, on Wednesday’s workday, we will be reformatting the script so that some of the more challenging words are written phonetically, and that some of the odd Shakespearean contractions (e.g. i’) will be spelled out fully. Furthermore, we are going to consider combining lines so that they flow as single, comprehensible sentences, removing or adding punctuation so that the kids can read it more fluidly. It might also be advantageous to highlight the scripts according to each character.

We’re all excited for next week’s rehearsal. We really felt like it was the real deal this week and I think that our productivity is only going to increase!